Victims of 9/11 attacks honored at U of R, RIT, and MCC

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Local colleges held vigils on Sunday and Monday to honor the memory of people who died 21 years ago during the September 11th attacks. Here is how the colleges are honoring the victims.

READ MORE: Local leaders speak at Veterans Outreach Center’s ceremony to remember 9/11 victims

Rochester Institute of Technology

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RIT held a vigil in remembrance. The event began just after 8 a.m., outside RIT’s Student Union where 2,977 flags were planted in the grass, honoring each life lost in the 9/11 attacks.

The presentation of colors lead the ceremony with a large flag in the background, held up by fire trucks from the Henrietta Fire Department.

Musicians played taps at 8:46, 9:03, 9:37, and 10:03 in the morning, the times the four planes crashed on that day.

The guest speaker was retired Colonel Anthony Basile of the 174th Commander at Hancock Field in Syracuse. He was working at the time of the attacks.

“Our assistant came into our office and said sir you need to see this. As you can see, it’s still really emotional for us to live through that day,” Basile said.

RIT’s Arnold Air Society organized this morning’s vigil.

University of Rochester

Over at U of R on Sunday, every year since 2002 a carillon concert is put on to honor the tragic day. The Hopeman Carillon is one of seven carillons in the empire state. It’s a set of 50-touch bells played from a pedal keyboard. The bells hang above the crown of the Rush Rhees Library. The musical composition in honor of 9/11 is different every year.

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“Some of our students weren’t even born, when this happened so this is an opportunity for them to realize how serious this was and to participate in remembering it,” Doris Aman told us, a Carillon instructor.

Honor flight mission 73 also arrived home Sunday. 56 veterans touched back down in Rochester after seeing their memorials and monuments in Washington D.C. It was a very emotional day for many. A mix of emotions with the trip itself and arriving home safely on a day when so many innocent lives were ended. One veteran shares how he served his country.

“I served in Vietnam, I did three years in Germany, two tours in Korea and a year in desert storm, and then I retired after 24 years so this trip was more to me than going down and coming back,” Veteran who wanted to go by the name Billy said.

Monroe Community College

Early Sunday morning, there was a student-led ceremony at Monroe Community College. Silence, song, and flowers spread across the campus. Speakers reflected on the importance of remembrance as a community. As generations grow, people told us how crucial it is to never forget.  

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“I still remember how we came home the day of work we were sent home, and the neighborhood how everyone just came together it was so quiet no planes so different than how it is today,” Rochester native Joan Gardner told us.

The ceremony at MCC was held in front of the 911 memorial built on campus in 2002, which reads “our heroes are always in our hearts. in one morning our world changed forever.”

School officials and members of the student government gave remarks on how those words still stand today.

“Whether we see this wall as a representation of America, of New York, of our own lives before the attack. The voices within it are supposed to represent the powerful loss we felt on all levels that day,” said Mark Maddalina, the sustainable design director at MCC.

The monument serves as a sundial and every September 11th casts a shadow as the towers once did.